Slough Borough Council’s Modern Slavery campaign

In October 2018, Slough Borough Council launched a multi-channelled campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery and its many guises, and encourage people to report instances of modern slavery they may have witnessed.

In Slough we knew there were instances of modern slavery occurring, but there were very few reports of it happening. The campaign was launched on Anti-Slavery Day and ran for 6 weeks.

The challenge

  1. To raise awareness of modern slavery – including what it is and how people can report it.
  2. To encourage residents to get involved in reporting modern slavery (via the Modern Slavery Helpline)
  3. To engage all our partners across the Community Safety Partnership in helping to deliver the campaign across their communication channels.

We knew we had to go beyond a typical local government PR campaign to get people to sit up and take notice. Our motives were two-fold: to encourage potential victims to recognise themselves as such and to generate an understanding among the general population that modern slavery exists and it is a crime.

The solution

Out of home advertising was used to take the campaign to another level. Images were used to depict the different types of modern slavery and the Modern Slavery Helpline was used in red to encourage people to call in.

We were keen to ensure that all of the borough’s communities could engage in the campaign, so posters were also translated into Polish and Romanian and placed at strategic points in the borough. These were interspersed with posters in English.

Where did we target?

  • Bus shelters – posters were placed at strategic points in the borough, including translated posters in Polish and Romanian for 4 weeks
  • Buses – 25 buses on Slough routes featured the posters on the rear of their buses for drivers to see while sitting in traffic
  • Buses (interior) – an infographic on the different types of modern slavery was featured on the passenger panels of over 100 buses
  • ASDA Live – the poster appeared on a digital screen in front of the supermarket to raise awareness to shoppers
  • Posters/flyers
  • Promotion of the unseen/safe car wash apps
  • Slough Citizen – council newspaper
  • Media relations
  • Dedicated web pages
  • Social media plan
  • Dedicated resource pack developed for all CSP partners to push the campaign through their channels

Poster saying 'Modern slavery is closer than you think'

The impact   

  • The campaign was very visual and hit all corners of the borough.
  • The Modern Slavery Helpline provided statistics for the number of Slough related calls from the quarter before the campaign was launched and the period of the campaign:
  • The number of contact increased by 400% from Quarter 3 (July to September) to Quarter 4 (October to December) 2018.
  • The number of Modern Slavery cases opened during the 3 Quarters remained consistent, however the number of Non-Modern Slavery cases opened increased by 600% between Quarters 2 and Quarter 4 2018.
  • In June 2019 this campaign won in the Outdoor Media Awards new Social Impact category.

How is the new approach being sustained?

In May 2019 we advertised on petrol pump nozzles in seven petrol stations in Slough. This time the campaign ran in 5 languages (English, Romanian, Polish, Urdu and Punjabi) We await data from the Modern Slavery Helpline to measure the impact of that campaign.

In the future, we will be focusing on the different types of modern slavery and going into more detail in our marketing on how people are exploited under each of these.

We will continue to receive statistics from the Modern Slavery Helpline to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

Lessons learned

  • The positive use of other languages to deliver a single message to the diverse community in our local area
  • Joint working with the Modern Slavery Helpline to assess the impact of the campaign
  • The strength of a well co-ordinated social media presence to augment the physical campaign


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